Now I Know What Hills Are
Talk about getting humbled! Did that loop around Canandaigua Lake Sunday. Killer. The first 3 miles were all uphill but the slope was low enough that it didn’t count as a “climb”. Not to worry though, there were 4 more hills coming that all counted as climbs.
The first of the “real” climbs was the second most severe on the route. I think it also qualifies as the second most severe climb I’d ever done – up to that point. 320 feet of climbing over 2 miles. Do-able. Never had to resort to hike-a-bike, but boy did I want to. The next hill was the killer. Bopple Hill. Weird name, killer climb. 600 feet elevation gain over 2 miles. That’s a 6% average for the 2 miles, with sections that are as steep as 14%. This one I walked a goodly portion. Even down in my granny gears I was standing on the pedals and going no where. There was no coasting. If you didn’t pedal you were going backwards. So? Whole lotta walking going on.
The downhill off of this was as scary as the uphill was hard. I was soaked, shoes & socks were drenched, I had a mud stripe up my back, my shirt was dripping and I don’t want to know what was making my shorts wet. It wassn’t raining at all, but road spray was just getting everywhere. At moderate speeds, grip on the road wasn’t bad. But brake effectiveness was definitely compromised. But I’ll tell you what – 2 miles of downhill will dry you out in a hurry. Well, except for the shoes.
Because I didn’t know the road, because it was wet and because my brakes weren’t working all that well (being wet), I chickened out and started feathering the rear brakes when the speedo showed 50mph. Every little tiny move seemed amplified at that speed and I did NOT want to end up turfing it, losing 6 or 7 acres of skin and munching a guardrail. At 50mph. So I kept the brakes on and coasted downhill for the last mile or so at a very pedestrian 40mph instead. Maybe in better conditions, maybe after another trip or three down that hill, maybe when I’m a little more confident at those speeds I’ll actually try for 60, or ride it out at 50 for a bigger portion of the hill. Maybe.
After the beast, there was a lot of grinding across the flats at the south end of the lake, then on the ride north there were two more climbs that were somewhat less severs than the first. But with 35 – 40 miles on your legs already, they felt nearly as bad. Slow, slow climbs, hanging out in the granny gears. Thank the biking gods for those triple chain rings.
Now I just have to wonder if I’m really ready to tackle the Battenkill course later this week. Maybe I can get Paul to relent and we can do a 30 mile portion of the course instead. Maybe.
Wish I had tried to do the ride Saturday morning like I had at first planned. I let myself get talked out of it because of weather concerns. “It’ll be too hot, Sunday is supposed to be much cooler.” Well, Sunday WAS cooler. And wetter. And Saturday morning didn’t go according to Plan B either. That issue is still unresolved. Grrrrr.
Some pictures showing what I’ve been up to and/or looking at:
Floyd is a bird house we got this year. Carved with a chainsaw by a local artist. (It really does look like an old mans face in person). Floyd has guests:
One of Floyd’s buddies on a nearby bench:
Not one of Floyds roomies, but male Cardinal and a juvenile Robin that are buddies?
And a nice little day lily:
With that, I’ve got to run. Vacation coming up in about a week too so I may be scarce for a bit next week. Might drag a laptop along, but I get the feeling that with the Crackberry’s and GPS already coming along, a laptop will be given the evil eye. I could post from the crackberry, but it is a very typing intensive act on a typing challenged piece of gear. Maybe pics of Acadia National Park?